Community Law Center

Lawyers for Neighborhoods & Nonprofits

Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on October 2, 2014.

October 10, 2014

11:00 a.m. cases

I. Transfers and amendments:

Applicant Rosita Cassell
Business Name New Cassell’s, Inc.
Trading As Sign of the Times
Address 137‐39 N. Belnord Avenue
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer location of a class “D” BWL license presently located at 1 S. Curley Street to 139 N. Belnord Avenue
Hearing notes This hearing was called and postponed.
Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Patterson Park
Area demographics No data available.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 1 S. Curley St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Postponed
Vote tally None
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Leo Devine & Sharhonda Harris
Business Name Always Cooking Best Crabs, LLC
Trading As Best Crabs
Address 1848 McHenry Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer & Wine License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership & location from a Class “D” BW license presently located at Lexington Market to 1848 McHenry Street, request for outdoor table service
Hearing notes

Mr. Gary Maslan represented the two applicants for the license. He explained that his clients are asking to transfer a beer and wine license from Lexington Market. They sell crabs at a substantially lower price. Maslan said, “crabs without beer is not really a true MD tradition.” He added that the owners of the business want “to revitalize and help the community.” The applicants submitted a letter in support of their application from Delegate Melvin Stukes, along with a petition with signatures from residents in support.

Mr. Leo Devine testified that he has been in the restaurant business since 1972. His crab restaurant had previously had a liquor license, but they gave it up. Now he has a new business plan, to offer steamed crabs, beer and wine at an affordable price (quoting $16/dozen). Commissioner Moore said, “at $16/dozen, what size are the crabs?” Devine admitted that they would be a “smaller size.”

Commissioner Moore asked the applicants what community associations they had spoken with. Maslan and the applicant responded that there isn’t a community association in the area. They spoke with the Carrollton Ridge Community Association, but that group said that their address was outside of their boundaries. Moore was not satisfied with this answer and asked, “what did you do as counsel to confirm the nonexistence of the community association?” Maslan responded that the applicant had spoken with their state delegate and city councilman about it, as well as a couple of neighbors.

Commissioner Moore asked if the license in question is active and whether it has been in continual use. Mr. Devine replied that it is active and has been in continual use by his brother.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Carrollton Ridge
Area demographics 17% White, 76% Black, 1% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 36% households have children under age 18; median household income: $28,513.80; 30% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1850 McHenry St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 12
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

First, Baltimore’s Cityview website and the online Community Association Directory can quickly and easily pull up all possible community associations for any given address. There are some areas of the city that are unrepresented by an active community association, but applicants often come to the Board with no idea of which community groups might represent the neighborhood surrounding their address. For this particular address, Cityview pulls up seven possible community associations for this address: Carroll/Camden Industrial Business Association, Gwynns Falls Trail Council, Operation Reachout-Southwest-(OROSW), Southern District Police-Community Relations Council, Southwest Sanitation Task Force, Citizens of Pigtown, and Communities Organized To Improve Life-(COIL).

Second, this liquor license is probably not valid, according to Article 2B section 10-504(d). On May 8, 2014, Paul Devine (Leo Devine’s brother) requested a hardship extension on behalf of the licensee, his wife, Angeline Devine. Paul told Commissioners Smith and Jones that his business had been closed since June 2013. To read more about this hearing, see the Booze News post for May 8, 2014.

Applicants Roland Muir & Thomas Muir
Business Name Muir’s Tavern, LLC
Trading As Muir’s Tavern
Address 36 E. Fort Avenue
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, request for live entertainment
Hearing notes

The two applicants testified on their own behalf, without an attorney. Roland Muir is Thomas Muir’s uncle; Roland is adding Thomas to the license, because of his age. They told the Board that they are withdrawing their request for live entertainment, because they have to go to the community association and to zoning for a permit.

Commissioner Moore asked whether the license is valid and has been in constant use. Thomas Muir replied that it is and that his family has owned and operated the business for seventy years. He submitted a letter of support from the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association (SBNA). The Commissioners asked for a signed copy of the Memorandum of Understanding to which SBNA’s letter of support referred. The applicants and Board staff did not have an executed copy of the MOU.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood South Baltimore
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 15% households have children under age 18; median household income: $73,342; 8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 36 E. Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant John Dahlgren
Business Name Rowhouse Grille, LLC
Trading As Rowhouse Grill
Address 1400 Light Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to add live entertainment & outdoor table service
Hearing notes

Attorney Anastasia Thomas represented the applicant. She told the Board that the BMZA approved outdoor seating and live entertainment for this location the week before but that the applicant is waiting for the BMZA’s issuance of its final approval letter. She asked that the Board approve their application that day so that they “can move quickly” once they get their use and occupancy permit. Thomas explained that the BMZA often moves slowly, saying that “they sometimes take several weeks to get the letter of approval out the door.” The plan calls for four outdoor tables with two seats each, for a total of eight outdoor seats. They have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the neighborhood, which the applicant submitted for the Board’s review. The live entertainment will be acoustic music, less than 80 decibels, with the doors and windows closed. On Friday and Saturday, the music will not go past midnight; on Sunday, the music will not go past 6pm.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood South Baltimore
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 15% households have children under age 18; median household income: $73,342; 8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1400 Light St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Ms. Anastasia Thomas
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Newly adopted Article 2B section 10-202(a)(4) says that the Board must determine that an application is complete before a hearing may be scheduled. One of the required elements of a complete application is “zoning approval or verification of zoning.” It is not specified in the statute whether the BMZA’s final ruling on the zoning request is required for “zoning approval.” However, the statute also says that the complete application must be posted online 14 days before the hearing date. This online posting requirement does not go into effect until July 1, 2015, but it would seem as though the paper file should still be complete, under the law, 14 days before the hearing. In this case, the BMZA hearing was held on September 23, only nine days before the Liquor Board hearing.

Applicants Matthew Wickesberg, Claudia Levitas & Barbara Barr
Business Name HOA of Maryland Restaurant Holder, LLC
Trading As Hooters
Address 301 Light Street, Suite 173
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership (change of corporate name)
Hearing notes

Ms. Martha White represented the applicants. Ms. White explained to the Board that the Hooters corporation had undergone an “internal reorganization” and name change. The restaurant’s operations will remain the same. Ms. Barbara Barr was introduced as the Baltimore City resident as required by the application. Commissioner Moore asked Ms. Barr what her role is with the organization. Ms. Barr did not explain this. Moore asked, “do you work there? Are you going to be present at the location?” Ms. White chimed in to say that she brought the general manager of the restaurant to the hearing, Mr. Chris Urso, who can answer any questions about the restaurant’s operations.

Zoning B-5-1
Neighborhood Inner Harbor
Area demographics 80% White, 12% Black, 4% Asian. 3% Hispanic ethnicity. 11% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $78,578. 12% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes, but the corporate name is HOA Maryland Restaurant Holder, LLC (not HOA of Maryland).
Location of entity’s principal office 1815 The Exchange, Atlanta, Georgia
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%
Attorney for licensee Ms. Martha White
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally 2-1, Moore dissenting. She did not explain the reason for her dissent.
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

This hearing illustrates the very common violation of law wherein the applicants list someone as the “Baltimore City resident” on the liquor license application who has no financial interest in the business. This is in violation of Article 2B 10-103(b)(10), which requires that the application state that each licensee “has a pecuniary interest in the business to be conducted under said license.”

Applicants Michael White & Bruce Richardson
Business Name The Sobo Taco Spot, LLC
Trading As Banditos
Address 1118 S. Charles Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership & location of a Class “BD7” BWL license presently located at 1439 S. Charles Street to 1118 S. Charles Street, request for live entertainment
Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas represented the two licensee-applicants, who are asking for Board permission to swap licenses with Delia Foley’s Pub. The license currently at Banditos is a 6-day Class D license; Delia Foley’s has a 7-day BD-7 license. The licensees, according to Prevas, already have permission for live entertainment, but they are requesting an addition of outdoor tables: two tables seating four each. The licensees have “applied for the use permit” to have outdoor tables.

Commissioner Moore asked whether the violations that Banditos was found responsible for within the last couple months have been cleared, paid, and resolved. Prevas clarified that it was just one violation and that the fine was paid immediately. The commissioners asked if there is any community opposition; Prevas said that they have a letter of support from the business association, the Federal Hill Hospitality Association (FHHA), signed by its president, Brian McComas. The applicants had met with the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association, who, according to Prevas, were in favor of the transfer. The applicants already have an existing MOU with SBNA, and the conditions in that MOU will continue to apply to the new license.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Federal Hill
Area demographics 80% White, 12% Black, 4% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $78,578.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1118 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Gary Morse
Business Name Catherine’s Pub, LLC
Trading As Delia Foley’s Pub
Address 1439 S. Charles Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership & location of a Class “D” BWL license presently located at 1118 S. Charles Street, request for live entertainment
Hearing notes

Mr. Abraham Hurdle represented the licensee applicant, who was not present for the hearing, because he was “in south Florida for a business matter.” Mr. Martin McFaul, assistant manager of Delia Foley’s, was there on Mr. Morse’s behalf. Hurdle reported that the community is in support of the transfer; his client’s hours and days of operations are being restricted from what they were before. McFaul testified that Banditos paid Delia Foley’s for their BD-7 license. Delia Foley’s currently has a 7-day license til 2am, which they are switching for a 6-day, 1am license. There is no MOU in place with any community association. Live entertainment will be on the second floor. Hurdle concluded by saying that the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association (SBNA) had voted unanimously in support of the transfer at their last meeting.

Commissioner Moore noted that the file did not have any documentation from any community association about their official stance on the transfer. She said, “it would be really helpful to actually have documentation from the community association.” Moore would have felt more comfortable with approving the transfer if the association had submitted a letter or signatures in support; she said that this would have completed the file. Chairman Ward responded that if the Board approves something based on inaccurate information, the Board will “bring it right back” for another hearing.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood South Baltimore
Area demographics 80% White, 12% Black, 4% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $78,578.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1439 S. Charles St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Richard Soucy & Ronald Prochoren
Business Name 1700 East Fort Avenue, LLC
Trading As City Limits Sports Bar
Address 1700 E. Fort Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine ↦ Liquor
Reason for hearing Request to add outdoor table service
Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas appeared on behalf of the licensees; he requested to withdraw their application for outdoor tables, because they “have to do some things with zoning” first. The Board agreed.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Locust Point
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 15% households have children under age 18; median household income: $73,342; 8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1700 E. Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 2 (did not testify)
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Application withdrawn
Vote tally None taken
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

II. Hardship Extensions:

Applicants Lydia Fitzsimmons, James Saufley & Eric Butterfield
Business Name Roxie’s Restaurant Group, LLC
Trading As Fredericks on Fleet
Address 2112 Fleet Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provision of Article 2B Section 10‐504(d)
Hearing notes

Attorney Charles Brooks represented the licensees in their hardship extension request. He explained that his clients had renovated their building and spent considerable sums of money but that their business had been a financial failure. They closed on June 28, 2014; since then, they have been in negotiations with potential purchasers but have not been able to get close to an agreement that would be completed within 180 days of closing.

There was some confusion among the Commissioners about whether the licensee would be entitled to 180 days from the date of the hearing or 360 days from the date of closing.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2112 Fleet St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Charles Brooks
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Granted.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

1:00 pm cases

III. Violations

Licensees Leonard Popa, Joan Popa & Christina Popa
Business Name Club 438, Inc.
Trading As Not provided in docket, but it’s Sooner’s Tavern
Address 1600 Hazel Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.15: Gambling. “No licensee shall allow his premises to be used for the purpose of gambling in any form” — August 4, 2014 — Police executed a search and seizure warrant for gambling at the establishment

Hearing notes

Baltimore Police Detective Abraham Gatto testified that, on August 4, 2014, he executed a search and seizure warrant at the establishment, based on an ongoing undercover investigation. He recovered three powerpacks and three processors as well as $830 in currency from cash register, drawer and three poker machines. Gatto explained that video poker machines are supposed to be used as entertainment (like an arcade game), not as a gambling device. For more on Maryland’s underground illegal video poker machines and their connection to organized crime, read the Abell Foundation’s report at the link.

Detective Gatto said that he was undercover in the bar in the late evening and early morning of July 17-18. He observed patrons of the bar playing the video poker machine. One female player played the machine up to a score of 1,104 points. When she reached that level, she flagged down a bartender and showed her the point total. The bartender said, “I got you, hon,” discreetly made a cash payout to the player and reset the point total on the machine.

None of the licensees for this establishment were present, but Mr. Brian Everett was there on their behalf. He cross-examined Detective Gatto, asking, “did you approach the woman who paid the money?” Gatto replied, “no.” Everett asked, “you didn’t ask her why she paid the money?” Gatto said, “no.” Gatto admitted that he was not close enough to see the value of the cash that the bartender gave the player.

Chairman Ward asked Detective Gatto how long he had been investigating illegal gambling. Gatto responded that this was his first video poker case. Ward asked, “are you familiar with poker machines?” Gatto responded that he has watched players play and he has played the machines in the office to see how they work. He stated, “in this case, Commissioner Ward, this was a direct payout.”

Mr. Everett submitted the Maryland Judiciary Casesearch information on the criminal case arising from this violation, which showed that the State’s Attorney’s office decided not to pursue the charges against the licensee. Gatto explained that he himself had advised the state’s attorney not to pursue charges against the licensee, because none of the licensees were at the establishment that night. Their employees were the ones who committed the violation. (Criminal law requires proof of a much higher degree of participation and knowledge in order to find a person guilty for a crime than the Liquor Board requires for a violation.) Gatto said that the bartender, who was prosecuted by the state, failed to appear for her court date.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Curtis Bay
Area demographics 48% White, 36% Black, 4% 2 or more races; 10% Hispanic ethnicity; 40% households have children under age 18; median household income: $33,644; 22% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1600 Hazel St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible. $1,500 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward had suggested a $2,500 fine, but Commissioners Moore and Jones lowered it to $1,500. Commissioner Moore said that the Board wanted to issue a fine that makes a point, but not so large that it puts the owner out of business.

The licensees have three prior violations for sales to minors, from the years 2005, 2006, and 2013. Mr. Everett explained that he had sold to an undercover cadet, by mistake; he said, “she had too many teeth to be a customer at my bar.” Everett said that the neighborhood has “degraded, like other areas in Baltimore City.” He said that he was just trying to pay his bills and not get in trouble.

Chairman Ward told Mr. Everett that he cannot use these illegal poker machines to support his livelihood. Ward said, “if you can’t stay open, you ought to get out of business.” In a lengthy response, Mr. Everett said that the money from the illegal machines goes to pay his rent and his other bills, not into “a mayonnaise jar in the backyard.” Commissioner Moore advised him to stop talking and said, “my sympathy is expired.”

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Ryan Perlberg
Business Name Shot Tower, LLC
Trading As Willow
Address 811 S. Broadway
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.05(a) Prohibited hours – “No licensee shall permit any person to consume alcoholic beverages on premises during hours prohibited by law” — July 13, 2014 — Liquor Board Inspector and police found patrons consuming alcohol after hours at outside tables.

Violation of Article 2B section 201(a)(2) “A person may not sell, or suffer to be sold, or for the purpose of sale, transport, buy, possess, keep or suffer to be transported, bought, possessed or kept in any vehicle, vessel or aircraft or on any premises or under the person’s charge or control any alcoholic beverages except on premises licensed under this article unless otherwise provided for in this article” — May 7, 2014 — Inspector found several patrons throughout the restaurant and at the bar drinking/ordering margaritas and other alcoholic beverages — selling/serving alcohol without a valid license.

Hearing notes

Mr. Abraham Hurdle represented the two licensees.

The May 7, 2014 charges were dropped for this hearing, because the inspector who wrote up the violation is on extended leave and was not available to testify at the hearing.

There were three Liquor Board inspectors at the hearing to testify, but none of them had personal knowledge of the incident. They had all arrived after all of the patrons had left. Inspector Michael Hyde tetsified that he was out on patrol with Lieutenant Colburn when they received a call from Police Officer Schaeffer that Willow was serving patrons after hours. They arrived at the establishment at 2:15am. Officer Schaeffer wrote the police report but did not show up to the Liquor Board hearing. He had received and signed for a summons from the Board to appear at the hearing to testify.

Chairman Ward told Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth, “I want you to follow up on this, independent of this bar and this charge, and find out why Officer Schaeffer is not here.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Fells Point
Area demographics 70% White, 8% Black, 5% Asian; 15% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $69,105; 11% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 811 S. Broadway, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
Result of hearing Charge dismissed.
Vote tally None taken. Ward granted Hurdle’s motion to dismiss.
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

The new Chairman has been automatically dismissing cases in which police officers fail to appear at the hearing to testify. When he does so, he has not looked to the other commissioners to ask their opinion. However, there is nothing in the law that requires that the police officers be present if they have submitted a sworn statement about their experience of the incident in question. The Board could choose a different policy. For more on this topic, please see the blog post about officer statements at the link.

Licensees Gerver Contreas & Lourdes Cancel
Business Name Union Centro Americana, LLC
Trading As La Isla Taverna
Address 3230 E. Fairmount Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.05(a): “No Licensee shall permit any person to consume alcoholic beverages on premises during hours prohibited by law” — July 19, 2014 — Police found patrons at the bar with alcoholic beverages after closing hours

Violation of Rule 4.05(b): Prohibited hours “No alcoholic beverage shall be served, dispensed, furnished or given away in any part of the premises during the hours when such sales are prohibited by law” — July 19, 2014 — Police found patron at the bar with alcoholic beverages.

Hearing notes

Mr. Gary Maslan was present on behalf of the licensees, who were not. Maslan explained this his clients “got confused about the time” of the hearing but they admitted the violation.

Police Detective Abraham Gatto testified that he was on patrol and noticed a light on inside the bar after 2:00am. The door was locked, and Gatto beat on the door 15 times until someone opened it. There were twenty patrons “crammed in.” Gatto shut down the bar and had everyone leave for the night. The licensee was cooperative.

Maslan explained that the bartender had invited his friends in. Gatto said that there were a lot of friends, and the bouncer was at the door, keeping people out. When Gatto entered, he saw that the patrons were hurriedly trying to throw away bottles and pour out drinks. Maslan explained that the licensees “run[] a good establishment.” They have a last call for drinks at 1:25am to ensure that all patrons are orderly dispersed. At the time of this incident, the owner was doing some paperwork and was not supervising his employees. The owner was “extremely upset,” according to Maslan and “admonished his bartender.” Commissioner Moore asked, “if he’s so concerned, why isn’t he here?” Maslan replied that his client thought the hearing was at 2:30pm. Moore also pointed out that this establishment has had a recent sale to minors charge (in March 2014).

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Patterson Park Neighborhood
Area demographics No data available.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 3230 Fairmount Ave, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible. $800 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Mario Vaccaro
Business Name None provided
Trading As Gilmor Pleasure Club
Address 347 S. Gilmor Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct – “No licensee shall commit or allow the commission on his premises of any act which shall be contrary to any federal, state or local statute, law or ordinance or against the public peace, safety, health, welfare, quiet or morals” — June 12, 2014 — Police found patrons in the establishment during prohibited hours.

Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas represented the licensee.

Police Officer Jeffrey Brown testified that he was called to the location at 2:33am by the police dispatcher to respond to an alarm that was going off. When he arrived, the door was locked and there were three patrons in the bar. There was a highly intoxicated woman behind the bar, who was screaming and yelling incoherently. She staggered as she walked and couldn’t hold herself up, her speech was slurred and her eyes were glassy. One of the customers told the officer that they had tried to pay their bill, giving the woman a $50 bill. However, the bartender was so intoxicated, she didn’t remember taking the $50 and she couldn’t get the cash register open. She thought that the customers had not paid her for the drinks. The officers who responded to the call tried to call the owner of the bar, who had been present earlier in the evening, but he did not answer. They tried to knock on the door to the upstairs apartment where the owner lives, and he did not respond. One of the police officers went to a nearby store, got change for the customers for their $50 bill, and returned. The customers paid their bill and left.

Mr. Prevas then cross-examined the officer about his testimony. Prevas said that the customers “weren’t there to party, they were there to rectify the situation.” Officer Brown replied that the customers “were still drinking at the location” and he had seen drinks in front of them, though he did not remember the customers actually drinking from them while he was at the establishment.

Commissioners Moore and Jones noted that the charges brought do not exactly match the bizarre situation that the police officer described.

The owner of the bar then testified about the evening in question. He said that he got home at 12:50 that evening and went to bed, exhausted. His window air conditioner was on and was very loud. He is also hard of hearing. He woke up in the middle of the night, saw that his alarm panel was lit up with red lights, and went downstairs (after the police had already left). He found his bartender asleep in the bar. He woke her up, “listened to her jibber jabber for about an hour” and then “fired her, and that’s it.” He said, “I don’t have any shenanigans.” He says that he has worked at the bar for 41 years, without a violation.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood New Southwest/Mount Clare
Area demographics 17% White, 76% Black, 1% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 36% households have children under age 18; median household income: $28,513.80; 30% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? None provided in docket
Location of entity’s principal office None provided in docket
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible. $500 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Jacqueline McCusker
Business Name Pizza Ole, Inc.
Trading As Nacho Mama’s
Address 2907‐11 O’Donnell Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.12: Public Welfare – “Licensees shall operate their establishments in such a manner as to avoid disturbing the peace, safety, health, quiet and general welfare of the community” — March 23, 2014 — Security guard maced a police officer.

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct – “No licensee shall commit or allow the commission on his premises of any act which shall be contrary to any federal, state or local statute, law or ordinance or against the public peace, safety, health, welfare, quiet or morals” — March 23, 2014 — Security guard maced a police officer.

Hearing notes

Mr. Stanley Fine, of Rosenberg Greenberg Martin, represented the licensee. She admitted the charge and apologized to the police officer.

Police Officer Steigerwald testified that he was attempting to break up a fight on the public sidewalk outside of Nacho Mama’s. A security guard employed by the restaurant, seemingly in an attempt to help break up the fight, sprayed the police officer directly in the face with pepper spray. Steigerwald said, “I can’t speak to what was going through his mind, but his first action was to spray me in the face.” Police Officers Mario Caracas and Sean Fota confirmed Officer Steigerwald’s testimony.

Mr. Fine said that the macing was “an unnecessary act by [the restaurant's] agent.” There have been no Liquor Board violations at this establishment since 1998. The licensee replaced the security company immediately and they are making sure that their security guards do not even carry mace. Fine pointed out that the second charge refers to illegal conduct on the licensed premises, but this incident took place outside, on a public sidewalk. Fine said, “from a technical point of view, we didn’t violate Rule 4.18″ but agreed that his client violated Rule 3.12.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2911 O’Donnell St, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Stanley Fine
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
Result of hearing Responsible for violation #1. Not responsible for violation #2. $700 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward found the licensee responsible for the violation of Rule 3.12. A licensee is responsible for the conduct of his employees, and a security guard is a contract employee under the law. He reminded the licensee that a license is a privilege, not a right, and said, “this is an outrageous happening.” He agreed with Mr. Fine that the second charge (Rule 4.18) should be removed since the incident did not take place on the licensed property.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensees Hwa Young Lee & Seon Joo Lee
Business Name Bacchus Bar & Liquors, Inc.
Trading As Bacchus Bar & Liquor
Address 1220 W. North Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 5.03(a): Class“BD7” – “The holder of Class BD7 Beer, Wine and Liquor license must operate an on premise consumption establishment with on‐premises consumption.” ‐ March 5, 2014 ‐ police detective was refused entrance to bar area while still providing package good service.

Violation of Rule 3.02: Cooperation – “Licensees shall cooperate with representatives of the Board, members of the Police Department, Health Department, Building Engineer’s Office, Grand Jury and representatives of other governmental agencies whenever any such persons are on official business” — September 7, 2014 — Licensee refused to sign or accept their copy of the inspector’s report.

Violation of Rule 3.06: Sanitation and Safety – “Licensees shall operate their establishments at all times in accordance with the requirements of the Health department of Baltimore City, the Building Code of Baltimore City, and the rules and regulations of the Fire Department of Baltimore City” — September 7, 2014 — Inspectors found the rear exit gated, chained and blocked.

Violation of Rule 5.03(a): Class “BD7” – “The holder of Class BD7 Beer, Wine and Liquor license must operate an on premise consumption establishment with on‐premises consumption.” — September 7, 2014 — Inspectors found tavern portion of establishment closed.

Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas represented the licensees, neither of whom was present at the hearing. He requested a postponement on behalf of his clients. Prevas stated that Mr. Hwa Young Lee has been diagnosed with lung cancer, which has metastasized to his brain and kidneys. On the day of the hearing, he was undergoing a CT scan, and his wife, the other licensee, is with him. His brother is currently operating the establishment. The Lees had planned that Mrs. Lee would come to the hearing, but “she deemed it necessary to be with Mr. Lee during this procedure.” Chairman Ward said that the licensees have known about the hearing for some time, because it has already been postponed. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth agreed, noting that the inspectors went out again to the establishment to see if it was operating under the law and it still wasn’t. Ward reminded Mr. Prevas that a liquor license is a privilege, not a right and that a licensee has a responsibility to the general public. Mrs. Lee should have appointed somene to represent her at the hearing; Ward denied the postponement request.

Police Officer LC Greenhill testified that, on March 5, 2014, between 11:45pm-12:00am, he conducted a BD7 investigation, with Police Detective Akinwande. A BD7 license is a tavern license, which means that patrons should be able to purchase alcohol for on-site consumption whenever the establishment is open. The police had received complaints that the establishment breaks the law every day. Detective Greenhill went inside and asked the clerk for access to the bar area of the building. The clerk asked Greenhill for identification and she told him that the store policy was for the clerk to hold onto the ID itself. The licensee then came in and stated the bar area is closed and that Greenhill could purchase packaged goods. Greenhill asked Mr. Lee when the bar area closes; Lee responded that it closes at 12:15am (but it was before 12:15 when Greenhill asked). Greenhill asked again and was denied again. When Greenhill entered the tavern area, it was empty. Detective Akinwande corroborated Greenhill’s testimony but did not add to it.

Liquor Board Inspector Mark Fosler then testified that, on September 7, 2014, he went to the store with two other inspectors, Mr. Wendell Wright and Mr. Cleveland Brister. Brister and Wright entered the establishment and asked to be let into the bar area. Mrs. Lee told them that the bar area was not open. The other patrons who were in the store told the inspectors that the bar area was never open. The inspectors exited, then re-entered the establishment with Acting Chief Inspector Fosler and observed several packaged good sales. Mr. Lee then entered the store, carrying cases of cigarettes. Mr. Lee admitted the inspectors to the tavern section of the building. Fosler explained to Mr. Lee that the tavern portion must always be open and operating while packaged goods are being sold. Mrs. Lee then became upset and shouted at the inspectors for twenty minutes. She said that what Brister and Wright said was not true and that they had not asked to be admitted to the tavern. The inspectors also found an emergency exit blocked and locked during business hours. Mr. Lee told the inspectors that he was too sick to attend a Liquor Board hearing and refused to sign or accept the inspectors’ report on the violations. Inspectors Brister and Wright were present at the hearing and corroborated Fosler’s testimony but did not add to it.

Mr. Prevas said that Mr. and Mrs. Lee “are struggling in their situation right now.” Mr. Lee has listed his business for sale, because his health prognosis does not look good. Prevas asked the Board for leniency because of Mr. Lee’s health situation.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Penn North
Area demographics 90% Black, 6% White, 1% Hispanic, 0% Asian, 2% two or more races; 28% households have children under age 18; median household income: $28,502.54; 28% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1220 W. North Ave, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible for all charges. 30 day suspension, $1,000 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward said that the problem in this case is much more serious than usual. Mr. and Mrs. Lee are “obviously incapable of operating this tavern.” Mr. Lee can carry around cases of cigarettes, but he can’t come in to the Liquor Board? Ward said that he was very sympathetic to Mr and Mrs. Lee and they are guilty of a common violation. They are obviously incapable of opening up the bar portion of their business, and it’s going to be a continual violation. Ward concluded that it is necessary to close this bar for one month and assessed a fine of $1,000 for all of the charges.

Commissioner Moore added that her father is experiencing lung cancer. Her family has spent that time taking care of her father’s business, and it is a very difficult process. She doesn’t want people to think that the Board is being harsh. She appreciates the difficult circumstance, but Mr. and Mrs. Lee have not done what they need to do and have avoided taking care of their responsibilities.

Mr. Prevas requested that the suspension begin one week from the hearing date (on October 10), because the Lees need time to get their affairs in order. The commissioners agreed.

Commissioner Moore added that she found disturbing the denial of access to the tavern to three African American men and requiring them to give their driver’s license. She said that it was offensive as a business practice. She noted that she had chastised licensees for bringing up racial issues in the past, and she said, “I gotta drink my own sauce. I cannot say that it is raced based.” But she added that it is an issue of concern for her. Chairman Ward told Inspector Fosler to check up on this business before October 10 to see if they are in compliance.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensees Fred Hill & Shirley Hill
Business Name Hill, Inc.
Trading As 19th Hole
Address 2722 Harford Road
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 5.03(a): Class “BD7” – “The holder of Class BD7 Beer, Wine and Liquor license must operate an on premise consumption establishment with on‐premises consumption.” – September 7, 2014 — Inspectors were denied entry into the tavern portion of the establishment.

Hearing notes

The licensees were not present at this hearing.

Liquor Board Inspector John Howard testified that he went to the establishment with two part time inspectors; the part time inspectors attempted to enter the tavern area of the building, and the clerk informed them that the tavern section was closed and the door leading there was locked. Inspector Howard then went in and asked if the tavern was open; the clerk on duty, Mr. Octavius Hill, said no. Inspector Howard informed Mr. Hill that he was in violation of his license. Octavius Hill retrieved Eric Hill, the manager of the establishment, who allowed Howard into the tavern. Inspector Wendell Wright corroborated Howard’s testimony.

Chairman Ward asked the inspectors whether they had been back to the establishment since this violation. Inspector Wright said that he went back with Inspector Howard about a week later and the tavern section was still closed. Chairman Ward asked the inspectors why they didn’t charge the licensee with a second violation of the rules for the second visit, and they replied that they must have made a mistake.

The establishment has two prior violations on its record for sales to minors in 2005 and 2008.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Coldstream Homestead Montebello
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 38% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,821.90
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2722 Harford Rd, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers
Result of hearing Responsible. 30 day suspension and $1,000 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward said that the licensees were served with notice of the hearing but failed to appear, “which shows contempt for this proceeding.” He noted that using a BD-7 tavern license for a packaged good store is a “common violation.” He also expressed irritation that the inspectors had gone back and found the same violation, the licensees in “complete disregard of the fact that they’ve been charged.”

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

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